There is a certain magical quality about being around people you know you can trust with your deepest, darkest secrets, that is hard to describe. It is a feeling of deep trust and security you get when you know that the person next to you, in front of, or behind you, will never betray you as long as you live. I guess that’s what FRIENDS brings to the table, this feeling of trust and security, that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
For people who stutter, trust and security are a very tough thing to come by. You cannot be sure of any situation, who your friends are, or when a terrible moment in your life related to your speech will rear its ugly head. But at the FRIENDS conventions, such worries are alleviated, and you can sleep easy, knowing that you, and everyone else around you, is a person, a parent, a sibling, or a FRIEND, of someone who stutters. And that’s what friends is really all about.
Meeting knew people, and learning to deal with your disability in a positive way. Obviously the world outside of the convention is much different. Its harsh, cynical, and doesn’t always take kindly to those who are different and may need accommodation. But for one brief period in a young person’s life who stutters, they are like everyone else around them, even if to be disillusioned at the end of it all, it is a lasting experience, one which I enjoyed, and hope to enjoy many times over.
Alex Drake – August 2010